As financial professionals, most of us are fairly comfortable when it comes to traditional face-to-face sales — heck, that’s why most of us probably got into this business in the first place. We’re really good at reading the body language of our prospect which allows us to pivot our conversation when you pick up on the visual clues to lead them into making a decision.
When it comes to virtual sales though — and we define virtual sales as those interactions where we use technology to visit face-to-face with our prospects and clients — this way of selling is probably foreign to most of us. Perhaps just thinking of getting in front of a web-camera makes your voice shake. Or maybe you think that video-calls are just for teenagers and that "nobody" wants to see you anyway. But the reality is that most financial professionals are constantly looking for ways to create sales opportunities, and in today's environment it's even more important. Plus, when the COVID-19 pandemic comes to its conclusion, there may still be a significant benefit to doing some business virtually.
Virtual sales can be more challenging than a traditional sale because you need to exude not only confidence, but also competence. At its core, selling virtually is significantly different than conducting live workshops, seminars or appointments, and the reason is that in those live settings you control almost everything. Moving that experience to an online world brings a whole list of new challenges and issues that most times are outside of your control. You may have competence in connecting with customers, but how familiar are your customers with getting online? Are they tech-savvy enough to get online and into your specific meeting room? Perhaps, but why risk it? So not only do you need the technology that you use to connect with customers, you also need proven ways to communicate with your clients so that they are comfortable using that same technology and can go step-by-step through your sales process and sales presentation. If you're looking for examples that you can use, consider this virtual sales process.
Selling is not a Game
If you’ve played any game in your life, there’s always a winner and a loser (ties don’t count we all know that right?). Sales however is not a game. If anything sales is an exercise in listening. You must walk into the opportunity with open ears and a genuine interest in learning more — not simply trying to “make a sale” and here’s why. If you enter in the virtual sales with the mindset that if you listen intently, ask the right questions, present the solution that best fits the clients needs, it will naturally lead them to working with you. The client is looking to you as the professional to set the stage and control the situation — that’s exactly why they’re talking with you. They may believe — at least initially — that you can help, otherwise they wouldn’t be in front of you. With sales conversations, everything you do matters and contributes to whether or not your client will buy from you. Your tone of voice, your appearance, the presentation you make ... it all matters. If you can do this well, it allows you to create a sense of connection with your client and they will be more inclined to buy from you. Entering into virtual meetings with this mindset will allow you to take control of the discussion and demand the client’s attention.
The most important thing you can do when preparing for a sales conversation is preparing yourself mentally. Enter these virtual sales conversation with the assumption that the deal has already been won. Envision this conversation or meeting going exactly as you plan it to go. Expect the very best, but prepare for the worst so you’re never caught off guard. Where your intention is, your mind will go, so set your intention on success for the client and yourself. Don't let the fear of rejection stop you from winning the deal. Lead these conversations motivated by the excitement for what you do and the value you can deliver your clients. When you are mentally prepared, the mechanical part of selling comes naturally.
Deliver Value and Share a Vision of Success
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “a picture says a thousand words” you understand the meaning behind visual elements making a bigger impact than verbal elements. To share that vision of success, we mean that is most people want to be understood, and shown a simple path to move forward and solve their financial problem. When you successfully share a vision of success with your client, they can literally picture themselves benefitting from your product or service. Don’t ever assume, though, that the client knows what life could look like once they chose to work with you and ultimately buy a financial product or service. You must be crystal clear about the value of working with you and the benefits of your products and services. So to share a vision of success, you must clearly associate your product or service with their most desired wants and feelings. You also have to associate the act of not buying your product or service with continued pain or frustration.
While it’s natural that you may fear the unknown - Selling Virtually has been around for some time — and many financial professionals today are looking for feasible ways to stay in front of their existing clients to develop deeper and stronger relationships. Yes, there are many people following the social distancing guidelines and shelter in place approach, so there’s no better time than now to put into place a proven system to not only survive but thrive.
If you're interested in learning about a complete virtual sales system to help bring some much-needed confidence to your practice, or would like more information on conducting virtual sales, check out The Definitive Guide to Virtual Selling.